Friday, April 23, 2010

Show me the Money - Credit Review

There has been talk on the ground for some time about how the banks HAVE TO lend to the SME sector to try and survive the recession and all the gloom it brings.

Banks involved in NAMA are going to have to play ball with SME's, and Enterprise Ireland have set up a website full of information about making the system work for you.

The "Credit Review Office" as it is called was launched this month, without too much fanfare I'm sorry to say.

Essentially it's there as a support service for those who have been refused credit by banks involved in NAMA.

Some text from their site:
"The Credit Review Office has been established to conduct this review process and will accept applications from SMEs, sole traders and small and medium-sized farm enterprises that have had their application for credit refused or reduced or have had credit facilities withdrawn, and feel that the bank’s decision is unjustified. The Credit Review Office will, on application from the borrower, carry out an independent and impartial review of the bank’s decision."

Best of luck to anyone who needs this service and anyone who gives it a go. Let us know how it works out.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Making money from Blogging

Excellent post here at the blog on how they make money over there. Aisling and Kirstie are always open and honest about revenue generating devices but it seems that in light of their Grand Prix win at this year's blog awards, they needed to stand over their business side of things a little more.

Way to go ladies, you are both an inspiration to other business start-ups and ecommerce sites out there. Congrats!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ireland Inc

There was something else bothering me that I wanted to flag here. The attitude of a small number of people who are not pulling together to try and help companies become more efficient so they can compete in global markets.

Think of this - it has happened twice in the last month - 2 different people asking me if I know anyone in two different foreign markets who might be able to help them find a supplier or two of raw materials. Totally different businesses, totally different requirements - similar request - "can you put me in touch with someone" - which is, let's face it, what business is all about.

I personally don't have a problem with helping international business flourish. The stuff they need can't be sourced here; they're having to buy it in from the UK and elsewhere. I'm an advocate of the ThinkIrish campaign, so if they can't get it here then it's ok by me that we look elsewhere.

Makes sense, right? We all do it, it works, no harm no foul.

Apparently not. When I called Enterprise Ireland (have contacts there from previous employment & some recent research I was doing) I was met with very helpful people who all seemed to point me in the right directions. Then I called the International offices for some detail on how to go about this sort of thing. BRICK WALL. They don't feel "comfortable" assisting these guys in any way. Their role is to assist Irish companies in exporting, not the other way around.

Yes, I realise that, thank you, I'm not entirely stupid. All I'm looking for is a name - like the Exporters Association for the 2 different regions I'm researching. Do you happen to know anyone there? I thought we were all about pulling together for the sake of our poor little broke nation? It always helps to have a specific name in these situations, I can use Google myself.

And that's what they suggested I do. Use Google. Tell the people who were asking me for help, to use Google.

Can you believe that?

So I wrote a stinky email to a few people back in EI that I know, telling them about my experiences and lo & behold - a message came back so fast with names and direct lines that that I had to laugh.

They helped me, I passed on that good information, and away we go, Ireland Inc working hard once again to try and survive this quagmire of economic disaster.


It's long overdue, this post. Apols for that. Personal stuff getting in the way of blogging I'm afraid.

So! The funding situation in Ireland is getting beyond pants. For those trying to run and/or start up a new business, the avenues to take are closing up and becoming more congested.

What can we do to help?

The banks are very limited in what they can do. 2 contrasting voices from the same bank have told me recently that -
1) They are only taking applications from existing customers who have a kick-ass business plan
2) They are taking applications from just about anyone but they have to have a kick-ass business plan which is more financial projections than words.

So that's all very helpful isn't it?

Anyone talking to me lately has difficulty with just that - financial projections. They're all very pie-in-the-sky aren't they? They have their place but how accurate can they be in this day & age when each and every market is so volatile at the moment? It's just so hard for people to get funding from anywhere!

And then to take the County Enterprise Boards - who are advertising like Billio at the moment - and discover that yes, they have new grants which are all very exciting but lo - the budgets have been slashed for 2010 and they don't know if they're going to be around in 2011! What good is that to the small business community, who cannot get funding from banks or building societies, have been let go from their jobs and have no rich uncle to act as their angel?

More and more faces are recognisable on Dragon's Den. RTÉ was inundated with applications for this year's programme, why? Because nobody has a choice. The avenues have dried up; the obstacles in the way on the remaining avenues are next to impassable.

This post didn't start out with the futile tone that is has grown into. There have to be options out there for people. There has to be an answer for all of this, more than just hopping on a plane to Canada or Oz, if you are lucky enough to be an expert in a field that they need & want.

The funding pie in Ireland is getting smaller, and the number of slices required is getting higher by the day. Someone close to me said recently - the cream will float to the top and Ireland Inc will be left with some great companies in a few years time.

That's very true, and I look forward to that time, but between now and then - what happens to all the other people who are fire fighting to keep their businesses afloat and families warm and dry?